March 17, 2005

O Fortuna

Ignoring just about everything that I had mentally planned to do last night (loads of laundry and various other boring housework related chores) I sat down and plied all the corrie singles.  I so wanted to finish with that fiber once and for all!  Initially I had to finally skein up the plied yarn from the last time I worked with the stuff.  It had been aging on the bobbins for weeks now.  There were two skeins worth of somewhere around 300 yards.  I also did a quicky wpi test to see what weight yarn I was getting.  It isn't the most consistent yarn that I've ever spun, though the variation is nowhere near the thick and thin of beginner yarn (or half of the fancy shmancy yarns that cost a fortune these days) so its averaging about 10wpi and will probably knit up at 3.5 st/in.  Hmmm, a modified big sack sweater?  I don't think thick and thin yarn is so great for cables, but for an oversized pullover, this shouldn't be bad.  And here I was talking about getting rid of it yesterday.  Anyway, after almost 3 hours of plying (take 30 min for futzing with the driveband on Tina) I have everything plied, even the two Lendrum bobbins which had aging singles at least a year old though probably older.  I have 3 full Tina bobbins with 2 ply 10wpi yarn waiting to be skeined up.  Yay.  Done.  Now onto something more exciting and probably in smaller amounts ;) 

I did a bit of thinking of what I have active, which wheel better suits it and will probably change up that yummy cormo from the Lendrum upright to the womack electric.  The roving is so well prepared that it takes very little in the way of pre-drafting and is perfect for feeding the electric.  The angora blend from Kim will stay on the Lendrum Saxony as it is really perfect for laceweight without treadling like I'm in the Tour de France (which I do anyway).  This leaves Tina and the Lendrum upright empty, along with the Journey Wheel.  Hideously neglected is the little danish saxony which has flax draped around its distaff and hasn't been used since this past summer.  Never fear that I have a lack of stash to spin.  Remember the organizational effort of my Christmas break?  I have two 32 gallon garbage pails disguised as night tables that are filled with spinning stash, not to mention the rest of the stuff spread hither and thither in my wool house.  Yup.  I live in a wool house too.  Oh yeah, I still haven't displayed for the world to see my rubbermaid shed outside that is jammed with fleeces.  I don't think I will either.  I think I'll probably start the tri-color jacob roving that I got from Edie at Joy Farm, who's fiber fair is this weekend.  I went last year and it was great fun.  I bought some beautiful Border Leceister/Mohair roving and two Jacob fleeces.  Only downside is that she's in Woodstown, NJ about as far away from home and still in the same state.  The drive home took forever as the babies went insane on the Turnpike.  It was one of those rides where I found myself jammed between their carseats, giving them both a bottle while parked in one of the rest areas.  Thanks.  No thanks.  Though it would be a good preview of what a trip to the MDS&W festival would be like with them, but I think if I do go the twins will stay with my folks for that weekend.

anyway...

Ribby2aHere's a nice sunshiney shot of my Summer Ribby.  The color is definitely a keeper and if I knit in short bursts, the cotton doesn't so much kill my hands.  This picture is of the first front piece that I finished yesterday.  I'm just shy of ending the ribbing section on the second now.  I should be well clear of the botton ribbing by the end of today's Knit Club.

A couple of days ago, can't for the life of me remember and I'm too lazy to open the photo and look at the date stamp, the twins were playing in the living room.  Some of this playtime was dedicated to pulling all the scarves off the coat rack.   They weren't hurting anything/one and they were having clean fun.  I let them.  Anyway, I turned around and found Kathryn standing like this:

Kat_shawlYou think the girl needs a shawl?  She's a natural!  Look at the form!  It almost matches what she's wearing too, and well it doesn't clash horribly.  My girl has good fashion sense.

She's such a sweet girl too.  She's been a very big help recently.  I can get her to put the dirty clothes in the hamper as I take them off her brother.  Recently she's actually holding her hand up and grunting at me, indicating her rediness for hamper duty as soon as I put the boy on the changing table.  She did something super sweet on Sunday.  I had given them each a cookie.  While she had hers and was alternating eating it and stuffing it in a box, her brother had put his down and crossed the room to play with something else.  Shortly thereafter he had a bit of a freak out and while I pointed Alex towards his cookie, he stood there crying trying to get Kat's.  Well my little girl got up, walked across the room, picked up the cookie and brought it back to her brother.  No, she didn't tease him with it and chow down in front of him (as I sort of expected her to), but she handed it to him.  Awwwww.

Finally some random cuteness from the cats:

2catsThis is exactly what I was hoping for when I added Baron to the mix.  Earl is such a lovey cat that he needed a snuggle buddy.  Baron is much the same way.  I wake up every morning with his fuzzy little beige body tucked under my chin.  While these two boys have been buddies from early on, I was quite surprised and honestly relieved to see Duchess playing with Baron this morning.  Things are settling down quite nicely.

I love it when a plan comes together.

12:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

March 16, 2005

Spinning wheel got to go round

First off, thank you to everyone for their comments on poor Merlin's demise.  I am thankful that the twins are not old enough to have understood what happened and as a result are not traumatized by the events.  I do so hope that it was over quickly and that the poor birdie did not suffer long. 

Once again, Tuesday was spinning day at my home.  It has been a while, but I finally got back to it.  The lure of the other projects was not so strong as to distract me.  Of course it did have to wait for a trip to AC Moore for more sex. After I finished the first ribby, I picked up the pattern from ChicKnits for her LoTech Sweat.  After spending some time consulting the budget and the yarn options out there, I decided on the Patons Classic Merino for it.  I know Smiley's has excellent prices on it but I seemed to remember that AC Moore carried it so I hit their website to see if I could confirm this.  While they don't list all their products on their website, I did check out their current circular.  Imagine my surprise to find they were having a 25% all yarn sale.  And yup, they carried the Classic.  Oh no, the sale ends Tuesday 3/15th.  After a quick dinner with the folks and a surprise visit from my baby sister, the twins and I popped off to fondle some yarn.  I wound up picking up enough yarn to do the LoTech, as well as another Ribby. All for $3.74 a skein.  The colors are Dark Grey Mix, New Denim and Denim Marl.

Greymix Denim Denim_marl

The LoTech will be in the Dark Grey mix.  The denim for the body and the marl for the sleeves and probably the collar as well of a new Ribby.  I also picked up some beads to make a custom pull for Ribby 1 and should have that done by the end of the weekend.  Now to make room to put the yarn. :)

I finally, FINALLY, finished spinning up that moorit corrieX lamb roving that I have been spinning on the Tina.  Thank goodness.  I was oh so tempted to fill the bobbin and toss whatever wouldn't fit on it.  That's how tired of this stuff I am.  Oy.  Now I just have to ply it.  I have two very full Tina bobbins, plus the two Lendrum bobbins of it to ply.  Not to mention the two Tina bobbins of already plied stuff that I've been too lazy to skein up.  I'll be happy when this stuff is in the complete pile.  I'm so sick of it, I'm not even sure I can knit with it.  I might just have to put it up as looking for a new home.  I'm not sure what I'll spin next on Tina, but I'm sure something will hit me.  I'll hopefully ply it soon and just get it done.

I think I might just leave the space recently vacated by the birdcage to put my Womack Electric back out.  When the bird arrived, I put the spinner away, as it had shared that space with an extra printer.  My spinning while the twins are up were put was put on hold as I'm still too chicken to tempt those nosy little monsters.  Heck the cats are bad enough and I had to spin last night with Baron in my lap.  I can see Alex shoving his finger in the spokes of the moving wheel in my mind's eye and I just don't want to tempt it.  Though, I could use my Journey Wheel.  Hell, I forgot I even have that one.  Too many wheels, too little time to use them.  Anyone want a small european saxony wheel? I NEVER use it and it probably would be very happy in a new home.  Inquiries welcome ;)

I finished the first cotton ribby front this morning, on the elevator to the office too.  I was so close to finishing that I was tempted to take the subway an extra stop or two just so I could finish.  I knitted instead on the elevator and just need to bind off at lunch before I can start the next piece.  I do have to admit that I like the way the Cotton Ease is working up, though it is far harder on the hands than Peruvian Highland wool.  I do need to take more frequent breaks, but it is still a great project for my short hop train rides and lunch time knitting.

Knit on.

12:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 14, 2005

Another one bites the dust..

And another ones gone from the WIP to the FO pile.  Sweet.  Okay so the picture of this is out there in a couple of spots and shockingly, I posted to another blog before my own.  But here is my finished ribby!  I love the thing.  Actually sitting here wearing it now.  Its a great sweater and oh how so perfect.

Project Details

Pattern:  ChicKnits
Yarn:  Elann Peruvian Highland - Black/Ruby
Started:  1/31/05
Finished: 3/11/05
Size: 37/38

Risagg(Click for a larger image.. and YES it is in the Ribby Gallery :)  I really love this sweater and it is so very comfortable.  Now with 3 days to have recovered, I didn't so much mind hand sewing in the zipper.  I am toying with hand beading a black and red pull for it.  I probably will, just need to get some red beads.

I bought 12 skeins of yarn, 8/4 black/red.  I used all but a smidge of the red and 6 skeins of the black.  I did shorten the sleeves from the pattern length.  While my chest and the hints for making this suggested working the 38 size, I'm still 5'0" and have proportionately short arms.  I'm glad I did as they hit spot on.  Yay me.

I love how it fits, how it feels, how it moves.  Wonderful sweater that I'll happily make again and again. Hell, I did start the cotton version (picture tomorrow) for summer wear. 

No real knitting this weekend.  The twins and I hung out my with sister on Saturday, while yesterday was devoted to playing and laundry. 

Oh hey, Baron the Weird ate cooked peas off the kitchen floor last night during dinner.  Peas?  Weird indeed.

10:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

March 10, 2005

No good lousy day

Today is turning out to be one of those no good ugly days.  It started off relatively benign, if you consider getting your fingers nibbled by a kitten benign.  Baron nibbled while Earl stood on my hair.  Needless to say I didn't sleep in this morning.  Guess that wasn't so bad afterall, as it is a work day.  I feel crappy though.  I have a twinge in my back that won't go away and a headache to end all headaches.  I managed to put on matching clean clothes that actually fit before the twins got up.  Except the shoes I really want to wear are still by the front door where I left them yesterday to dry, thanks to the crunchy icy wet mess that was all over.  I put on a couple of place holder shoes (berkie clogs that I can't remember the model name for presently) over my hand knit comfy wool socks so that I'm not traipsing over the house ruining the socks.

I got the kids up and dressed, though they barely cooperated and I had to dress Kathryn twice.  The cute coordinating outfits that I had picked out were a bust.  Kat seems to have grown a bit since the last time she wore the burgundy cord overalls and now they don't fit her.  Needless to say that I discovered this after I had them on her.  Alex's blue ones surprisingly still fit.  I had to find something else for her to wear.  She wasn't happy about getting dressed the first time so you can imagine how thrilled she was for a second go around.  Anyway, I get the beasts into the kitchen for their breakfast and Baron swipes Kathryn's waffle.  What kitten on the planet eats Eggo Nutragrain waffles?  Weird little beast he is.  I give her more food and set about feeding the rest of the livestock, while managing to whip together a cup of severely needed coffee.

Instead of screwing with the carseat straps, they have their assigned seats.  Kat behind me and Alex on the passenger side.  Well not this morning.  I took Kat out first, plopped her in the car and had her half strapped in before my brain parsed the fact I put her in the wrong seat.  Hell, my back hurt too much for extra lifting and I just left her.  She seemed happy looking at things from the other side of the car and Alex was as content in Kat's seat.  At the train station I realized I never changed my shoes. 

My head still hurts.  My back is still crampy.  Worse.  My good friend and former manager, who gave me my break by hiring me for my first programming job, just came by to let me know that he was just let go.  It is not entirely unexpected, but still...  I've decided to wait for my annual review.  Depending on how that goes, I'll decide whether or not to look.

I finished all the knitting on Ribby last night.  I also managed to buy a zipper!  I did not, however, manage to sew said zipper into said sweater.  I doubt I'll do that before the weekend.  I am quite happy with the sweater so far. I'm even happier that I don't have a huge number of ends to weave in as I used the spit-splice method of joining each new skein.  Sweet.  I also used a couple of the tails to sew up the seams.  I hate weaving in ends and will do whatever I can to avoid it.

I finally opened the box of yarn from Joann.com and took out the cotton-ease.  It's pretty.  I cast on for another Ribby in the banana cream yellow.  Pretty.  Okay so there's no give to the yarn but the acrylic does soften up the cotton a bit.  I didn't swatch.  Personally I hate swatching and having learned from the Harlot's experience with her "swatch", I cast on for one of the fronts, rather than the back.  I'm about a 1/4 stitch off of gauge in a good direction.  This would make the sweater a tad bigger than expected.  Not an entirely bad thing given that it is in completely non-stretchy cotton, so I'm going to leave it as it and not go down a needle size.  No pictures of it yet, but they will follow.

Now I need a cup of tea to calm this cough.

04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

March 08, 2005

Long time, no type

I know, it has been a while since my last posting. While I intended to blog, things just didn't work out that way.  Friday was very busy at work and I had a serious deadline to meet.  Naturally I also had to leave early on Friday.  I took a short lunch, left early and then after the twins went to sleep, I sat down at the computer and put in 3.5 more hours to finish the project.  I did have all weekend to do it, but I really wanted to get it out of the way.  I could see myself starting it at 11pm on Sunday.  It was nice to get it finished and out of the way early in the weekend though.  It did, however, leave me with a bit of a computer allergy for the rest of the weekend.  I didn't so much as check email, though I did perform my ring checker duties while the monkeys napped on Sunday.  Yesterday saw me busy still so no blogging then either.  I'm waiting for a stored proc to run on the database so I have some time now.  Yesterday the proc took an hour and a half to run so I have a decent amount of time.

Ribby1dWhile I haven't been computing, I have been knitting.  Ribby is sewn up!  I finished the last side seam during '24' last night.  All that is left now is to put in a zipper (need to buy that yet) and do the collar.  Naturally I did try it on and I love it!  Super sweet sweater.  I'll certainly be doing this one again and more than likely a cotton version. 

Yup, the cotton-ease did arrive from Joann.com, though I haven't opened the box yet.  I just can't get all excited about a cotton/acrylic yarn.  Though I have been looking at unmaking a Gap cotton sweater that I have and don't wear.  The thing is a hand me down from my brother in law and is absolutely huge.  It weighs a ton.  It should be easy to unravel, but hell, where to store the yarn. 

FebsexYesterday was one of those super-duper mail days.  I came home to three packages sitting by my front door.  What was in them you ask?  Well first was my recent unblogged book order from b&n.com.  Thanks to Cassie and Cate for their recommendations, I got  Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road:  Sock Patterns for the Travelling Knitter and XRX's Socks, Socks, Socks.  I can certainly keep myself occupied with those two books alone for years to come.  I was partially tempted to rip out the half sock that I started late last week with the Twinkletoe's yarn (no pictures yet) to work on one out of SocksX3.  What stopped me was that it was a handpainted yarn and I still think lace or texture is best served with a solid yarn.  However that isn't going to stop me from working on another pi shawl and/or stonington shawl out of the gorgeous lace weight yarn that I got from HandpaintedYarn.com. IT ARRIVED YESTERDAY!!  Those two plastic bags in front of the books are my yarns (see this post with individual colors ordered).  Wow.  Almost a month later, they finally arrive.  Worth the wait.  Gorgeous.  Beautiful.  Fondle friendly.  Naturally I haven't knit with it yet, but I'm dying to.  Did I take them out of the bag?  Nope.  Was too scared that I'd be rolling around naked in them if I did and I had too much to do last night.

On a fuzzier note, little Baron is settling in nicely.  I saw him and Earl curled up together on the couch the other night following a mutual grooming session.  So the boys are bonding nicely.  While Duchess doesn't join in the reindeer games, she will share a bowl with Baron.  He is trying to nurse from Earl, much to Earl's chagrin an his own disappointment.  Hopefully he'll outgrow that little habit shortly.  This little cuddly boy curls up under my chin every morning once I start with the snooze button on the alarm clock.  Sweetie he is.

Well, I'm off to take a decongestant (spring allergies are here even as it snows outside) and then to a telephone conference.  Knit on!

11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 03, 2005

Knitting is as knitting does

After a bit of stalling on the project, I finally finished the major portions of Ribby.  I started the second sleeve during my snow day on Tuesday and finished it up last night while watching South Park (second episode).  Yeah.  I watch it.  I also watched American Idol.  I'm having a hard time getting connected to any of the singers this go around as 8pm is an awfully hard time for me to watch tv.  I'm getting the twins into bed, straightening up the house and prepping for the next day during that hour so at best, I'm just listening to the set (less than when I'm sitting on the couch and knitting, while listening to the set :)  So I really haven't seen any of the performances.  I do stop when the rockers come on.

Anyway, back to ribby, I need to block it, do the bands, sew it up, knit the collar and put in the zipper, which I still have to buy.  I think Saturday will see a trip to Joann's for a zipper.  They should have a better selection than Rag Shop and I shouldn't have a problem with the stroller there, not to mention they aren't overflowing with those farkatke dried flowers that can trigger a migraine for me.  No pictures of all the pieces as I was trying to get to bed a little earlier last night.  I'll try and take tonight of them in their glorious blocking state, should I start blocking, that is.

I took a look at the status of Big Sack and it will probably be on hold until early fall.  I thought I might have completed the first sleeve and had started the second.  If that was the case, I might as well finish it now.  Nope.  No such luck.  Should I finish it?  I just can't bring myself to work on it.  I'm having second thoughts on the feel of the finished fabric.  It seems a bit sleezy.  While the gauge is spot on, its a very thin material.  Maybe feels that way when compared to Banff and Ribby.  I'm tempted to rip it, but will stuff it back in its bag and leave it to September.

I went back to working on my pi shawl and have now hit the middle of the first row of diamonds.  I plan on three rows of diamonds in the outer band just as pictured in the book.  My magic spreadsheet is telling me that I'm 42.576% done.  I'm still working from the first cake of yarn though it is coming very close to the end.  I had to rescue the baggie with the second one from Alexander yesterday.  Seems the little bugger has mastered zippers and found his way into my bag.  Thank goodness that while he can open a zipper, he can't handle a closed zip lock.  Whew.  That would have been a massive mess.

Back to Tuesday's knitting.  I did start the Opera Scarf in the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, but I wasn't pleased with the results.  I took it to the frog pond and ripped it out.  I'm now open to suggestions of what to do with two skeins of black.  Anyone?  I want something that will get to see more usage than the cowl.

Looking at the WIPs and the yarn in the cabinet, I think I'm due for a pair of socks.  The last ones came off the needles quite a while ago, and the sock yarn is mounting up.  I added 4 new skeins yesterday when a recent order of solids arrived from Elann.  I still have that Twinkletoes staring at me and Margene keeps mentioning it and has a lovely pair started now.  Not to mention the sock kits that I got from Vicki oh so long ago now.  And I wanted to knit those Aran socks from the recent magazine (can't remember what magazine and which issue at the moment) though Cate recently did a pair.  I could knit those in one of the new solids from Elann, or perhaps some icelandic yarn in natural that I got at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago from Tongue River Farm.

Geeky me is currently tempted to write a database program to track my stash.  I want to be able to not only track the commercial yarns, but all take a fleece from intake to finished yarn, with how many yards of what wpi resulted from raw weight.  I also want to add the capability of assigning a current/future project to the yarn(s) and the subtracting out of used up stash.  Naturally I'd like to be able to download it to my palm pilot so I can consult it when faced with purchases.  Oh yes, it would also need to have pattern information as to yardage necessary/sizes for when I am out and about.  Bit too compulsive?  So far I'd rather knit or spin than spend any more time in front of a computer so I haven't yet started it but the design is floating around in the back of my head. 

So much yarn, so little time.

11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

February 27, 2005

Weekend Update

Once again, major thank you to Chris for making a grooming house call.  People don't get nicer than her and I always enjoy spending time with her.  We talked far too late into the evening for women who needed to be up early the next morning.  Thank you once again Chris.

FuzzybuddiesBaron Belgarath had his evaluation at the vet's office Saturday morning where he was proclaimed healthy and very pretty.  I'm waiting to get the vet's report in the mail so I can send it to Maggie Freeland of Pennyrock Birmans.  I had the twins walk into the vet's office and they were just the cutest.  I got a couple of laughs when I told them to "stay" and Alexander actually listened.  This was a new vet that I started with and so far, I'm very pleased with them.  They are close, decently priced, have a good reputation and are friendly.  The nurse helped me out as the twins were starting to wander by then.  She stood and held Baron's carrier while I got the first one in the car. Before she went back inside (standing outside in nothing but shirtsleeves in 30F weather), she let me know that if I needed help in the future getting in to just come to the door and give a yell.  Someone would be happy to come out and lend a hand.  Nice service.  Baron got to meet Yeti the other night.  Here they are "playing" in the kitchen.

Blackcherry2_1Yesterday afternoon during nap time, it was actually sunny outside so I took some new pictures of projects in progress.  This is the Black Cherry roving that I've been spinning on the lendrum saxony.  I'm using the standard whorl, smaller size and the double drive option (for the curious spinner geeks).  The color is very pretty and you can see how fine the single is here.  Keep in mind that I have small hands and that my ring finger is a size 3.  I'm pleased at how it is coming out.

Ribby1cI've made progress on Ribby.  Notice the all the body pieces are complete.  I took advantage of the decent lighting for a change and laid out all the pieces on the living room floor.  Needless to say, I had help from Earl Grey.  I think the results met with his approval.  Since this picture was taken, I actually completed the first sleeve.  I didn't get a chance to cast on the second one though.  I opted to spin last night and got some more of that corrie roving done. 

This morning the twins took a 3 hour nap and I was able to get even more done.  I now have about 2oz of roving left to spin up.  1 full jensen bobbin, 1/2 jensen bobbin, 1 full lendrum saxony bobbin  and 1 full lendrum castle bobbin are singles that will need to be plied.  There is definitely a light at the end of that fiber tunnel!  My mind is already wandering to what fiber will be next on that wheel.  Yes, I still remember that cormo on the Lendrum and will return to that yummy stuff.  I think I'll go for a smaller quantity next on the Tina.  I found a pound of ramboulliet roving in the closet this evening so that might just be next.

Either the twins are getting sick, going through a growth spurt or there's a full moon or something.  Yesterday they didn't nap well at all.  I was lucky to get a 90 minute nap out of them.  They were cranky little horrid creatures most of yesterday.  Alex was up at 5:30 this morning so I didn't have high hopes for today either.  Kat slept in until 8 and got up just as her brother was finishing breakfast.  At 9AM they were both back in their cribs for a nap.  3 hours later, just as I was ready to check for breathing, they finally got up.  After a quick lunch, we went out for a little shopping.  After a stop at Petco for cat food, toys, hay and bedding the next hour was spent wandering around Target.  I finally got them a selection of tub toys and one of those safety things for the bath spout.  I also picked up a nice new canvas tote bag.  Yes.  Another one.  I have a tote bag illness.   This one is a good size with wide webbed handles and separate sections inside.  Here's hoping it works better than the last dozen options :)  The twins fell asleep in the car on the way home so I transferred them to the crib at 4pm. Kat finally got up just shy of 7pm.  I gave her dinner, played with her and at 8:30, she was back asleep.  Alex is still asleep and it is now 10:28.  That's a lot of sleeping, from both of them!  I'm going to bed!  He has pulled on of these long long long naps but I'm worried he'll be up extra early.  Not such a bad thing, I can get a jump on the day that way actually.  I need to get over to UPS tomorrow morning and ship out my now sold Ashford Traditional.  Its going to a new home in Oregon. 

Here's hoping that tomorrow's nor'easter doesn't bury us.  I hate snow.  Have I mentioned that before?  Just checking.

*******

Update 2/28:  Alex wound up sleeping until 6AM for a grand total of a 14 hours.  Now that's some nap!  Glad I went to sleep early myself.  He was one hungry boy this morning too!  He ate 3 scrambled eggs and a piece of toast.  I was able to get quite a number of things done thanks to him AND was able to get to UPS to send off the spinning wheel to its new owner. 

10:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 24, 2005

Recovery

What was a throat globby on Tuesday was a full blown sore throat yesterday.  I woke up feeling really cruddy.  Fortunately it was a school day, so I took the kids to daycare and returned to bed.  I spent the day lazing around, watching TV and knitting.  I worked on Ribby while I watched.  By the end of the evening (mom picked the twins up from school and offered to keep them so I could have a good night sleep - ain't she great?!), I had the second front piece done and had gotten 15" of the first sleeve done (past all the increases).  It is amazingly fast work and I'm very pleased with how the Ruby is knitting up.  It is cushy soft and just looks good.  I am concerned about yarn usage as I only have 4 skeins and hoped to do the collar in red as well.  I'll get a better sense of what I can/can't do shortly. 

No pictures of Ribby right now, but I do have pictures of some spun singles from Tuesday night.  I did pull out my Lendrum Saxony and spun some pretty fine singles.
Blackcherry_singleI did pull out a length and let it fold back on itself to get a sense of how fine the plied yarn is going to be, but had a heck of a time getting a good photograph of it.  Again flash issues and up close focus were causing me some trouble.  Once again, I'll have to try when the sun is shining and some of it is sneaking in my front windows.  I did spin a bit last night and plied up two full bobbins worth of that corrie roving and started another bobbin of singles.  I have three small bumps of the roving left so there really is an end in sight for this stuff.  Yay.  Getting tired of it.  Have been spinning it for ages!

Baron2While I was at home yesterday and the sun was indeed out for a time, I was able to get a picture of the new boy, Baron Belgareth in all his beauty.  You can see his gorgeous blue eyes here.  Getting this picture was a bit of a hassle though.  The frisky little beast just didn't want to sit still.  I'd get him nicely framed up, start to depress the shutter and he would move/yawn/look away.  Terror.  Finally got this one.

I just got email confirmation that my Denise Needles are finally being mailed today.  There were manufacturing problems and as a result, a big delay.  I should have them shortly.  Doesn't take all that long for Priority Mail to arrive from Vermont.  Thanks go to Bridget for her email letting me know that hers arrived and asking if I was happy with mine.  If it hadn't of been for that, I wouldn't have known that my order had been accidentally overlooked. 

I also got shipping confirmation that my JoAnn order went out.  This is the cotton-ease that I blogged last about.  Thanks to everyone for their feedback on this yarn.  While I'm not a Lion Brand fan, I have used some of their yarns quite happily.  I'll never touch that Homespun again, I have quite a number of socks I knit from their sport weight Wool-Ease.  Its decent stuff and if the Cotton-Ease is similar, I'll be content.  At least they'll be colorful.

I'm back at work today, feeling kind of like my head is wrapped in cotton.  I need a nap though will settle for another cup of tea.

12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 22, 2005

Tuesday is Monday

I'm happily back in the office today, but as today's title reads, it feels very much like a Monday.  Does mean that this will feel like a short week.  That is if I'm lucky.  I woke up with one of those "throat globby" feeling things.  Not quite sore, but like something decided to crawl in there and I can't get it out.  I'm not feeling 100% and sadly tea isn't helping.  Maybe another cup is called for.

Baron is fitting in very nicely at home.  I caught him sharing a bowl of Friskies with Duchess this morning.  For some odd reason, he insists on a sharing a bowl with one of the other cats.  I gave him his very own and he'd rather get all cozy with Duchess.  Surprisingly, this b*tchy cat let him.  He can't walk too close to her shoe box cum bed without her hissing and swatting at him, but he's allowed to share grub. Go figure.  I've given up trying to understand cats and just accept them for the odd creatures they are.

The little monster was less clingy last night so I was able to get some knitting done.  He did show up shortly before bed and insisted on gnawing on my circular needle.  Good thing its one of those ancient nylon jobbies and he did no damage to it.  He did get too good a hold and pulled one end out.  Fortunately I was able to grab it back and get the stitches back on it before they did any running.  Even with the little vance about, I managed to finally finish the first front piece to Ribby.  I even cast on for the other side.  Thanks to a much delayed train to Penn Station this morning, I was able to finish the lower ribbed section before starting the plain panel.

Having read Nancy's posting this morning, I've been doing some thinking.  While I didn't have as many WIPS as she does(did), I do need to hurry up and finish some of the wool items before it is far too warm to wear them.  I might just put Big Sack Sweater on hold until fall as I hope that it won't be cold enough to wear it by the time I finish it.  We'll ignore the fact that I was outside shoveling snow yesterday.  I think I'd be best served finishing Ribby.  While its wool, it is a cardigan and has much more flexibility.  I certainly couldn't wear Big Sack during a cool summer night, but I don't doubt that Ribby could be worn Labor Day weekend while we freeze our butts on the boat another year.  I should quickly finish mom's gauntlets just to get them done.  Actually that is probably a night or two's worth of knitting (sans help from Baron) so I should just do it.  So the lighter weight/multi-season stuff that in the queue or are WIPS will be worked on. 

Along those lines, I just ordered up some cotton blend (yes Nancy, cotton) to make some spring/summer wear.  My distaste for working with cotton wouldn't allow me to buy 100% cotton.  I opted for (double gulp) Lion Brand Cotton-Ease.  Oh my.  Cotton.  Acrylic.  Two of my least favorite words in one place and on one yarn label.  The (gulp) acrylic should lend some flexibility to the cotton, not to mention make it lighter.  100% cotton in worsted weight.  Geez, even after carrying the twins around for over a year, I still don't think I'm strong enough for 100% cotton worsted weight.  I'm planning on a cotton (gulp) version of Ribby.  Never being one to go quietly or test the waters, I ordered enough for two.

The colors are Banana Cream, Orangeade and Pineapple.
Banana Orangeade Pineapple
Sweater one will be all one color:  Banana Cream.  The other will be the Orangeade body with the Pineapple sleeves.  I was mentally seeing myself with a tan standing on the aft deck wearing it.  The colors spoke to me.  I'm pretty sure I had some fruity drink in my hand which is the only thing that would explain the FRUIT NAMED YARN COLORS!  Yo. Summer tan with a slushy drink.  I can dig.  I hope I live through the knitting with acrylic and cotton.  Best get some fruity drinks ready.

Blackcherry2Today is really Tuesday, even if it feels like a Monday, so I'm going to try like heck to spin tonight.  I got some of this wonderful roving from Kim and I'm dying to try it.  It's a gorgeous blend of 60/40 Merino/Angora called Black Cherry.  I'm hoping for a 2 ply lace weight from it and bought two ounces of the stuff when I could no longer bear it calling to me from her blog.  While Tina is tied up with that never ending Corrie lamb roving, I think I'll pull out my beloved, and oft neglected, Lendrum Saxony wheel.  The high ratios thanks to her very large drive wheel make for excellent lace spinning.  I've done cobweb on that beauty with minimal treadling effort.  Well worth the price of the wheel and I think she'll do the most justice to the roving.  Hopefully pictures tomorrow of some spun up yarn.  A girl can dream can't she?

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February 10, 2005

Fly like a butterfly, knit like a bee

I have to admit to another completely dopey knitting moment. I finally cast on for the left front (according to the pattern but in actuality the right front by my goofy backwards knitting method) at lunch two days ago.  I started the first row, but the light is so terrible in the office kitchen area that I just couldn't see the stitches in the black yarn.  What with lunch chatter, I didn't feel like counting, especially since I had to count the cast on 4 times to make sure I hit the same number twice.  Nearly majored in math. Believe it?  Didn't think so.  Anyway, I put it back in my bag planning on doing that row in better light someplace else and went back to work on Big Sack.  Did it come out on the train or at home anytime since?  Well yes, finally this morning I remembered Ribby and pulled her out.  I finished the first row and as I started the second, I vaguely remembered some mental debate I had over using the old nylon needles and how I was going to wait for the Denise needles (still not arrived) to do Ribby since I'd rather not do the whole body with them.  If it had just been the edging ti would have been cool as that was all of 8 rows.  So why did I have the nylon needles in my hands.  I dug in the bag and pulled out the addi turbos.  Holding the two together it all came flooding back.  The addis were the smaller set.  Crap.  I cast on using the wrong set.  I tucked the whole works back in the bag and went back to my EZ as Pi shawl.  Feh.

The shawl is speeding along very nicely. I'm now 23.3% done with the body of it.  I have yet to get really geeky and include the border.  I haven't quite decided which border I'm going to use so I honestly can't yet anyway.  The KAL had a thread yesterday involving keeping the group alive. We've decided to do a second pi shawl.  Cool by me.  I've been knitting this one and have been trying to decide what to do next.  I'd really love to do one in Jaggerspun Zephyr and/or spinning up the tri-color Jacob in a lace-weight to do a banded shawl.  I found an excellent buy on the Zephyr so I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to buy some.  I really like the idea of a banded shawl with the jacob, the problem is in getting the yarn spun up within this lifetime.  No, Tuesday again was not spinning day.  Maybe I'll do some tonight, don't have too much time as the every other week housekeeper is coming tomorrow and I have to tidy up a bit.  I haven't spun in weeks and I can hear the wheels whispering to me.

I've been a bit distracted over the last couple of days.  I've been on a bit of a quest. And while I don't want to jinx things, I'm still subject to final approval by the breeder, it does involve this:

Bela_12w

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February 08, 2005

Life goes on

I want to thank everyone for their warm and supportive comments to my last post regarding the passing of my sweet cat.  Your comments meant a great deal to me.  I'm replying to each one individually and I apologize if I haven't gotten back to you.  I wasn't much in the mood to do computery things recently and work has gotten busy.  So I hope a blanket public thank you would do in the short term.  Thank you all.  I've come to grips with the fact that I did what was best for Casanova.  I'm thankful that I could hold him in my arms and pet him his favorite way while he purred to sleep instead of a prolonged illness in a strange cage with strange people doing scary things to him.  Things are slowly returning to normal in my house, however Earl Grey (the silly Russian Blue cat) was a big buddy with Casanova so I'm keeping an eye on him.  He's gone back to his pre-Cassie bonding of sticking to me like a shadow.  I might just have to get him a pet.  Again, I thank you all for your support.  Some folk I know are taking bets as to when I get another cat.   I think the next one will be a long hair.  I'd love a Birman or a Himalayan.   Its too early right now.  I need to see how the others react first, not to mention my own mourning period, before I shake things up and add another.

Surprisingly there has been some knitting going on.  I've been making some decent progress on my pi shawl.  I'm now on row 17 of Chart B, having finished the diamond section.  It is a decent chart and I've learned to read the knitting.  At the beginning of each pattern row I consult the chart for the basics and can then put it away until two rounds later.  That's my favorite kind of knitting.  New enough that I don't have the entire project memorized (like my basic sock recipe) but not hard enough that I have to examine for each stitch (Orenburg shawl I started years ago).  I don't have any pictures to post as it really isn't much different than the last time I posted one and have better things to show.

Ribby_backI finished the back of Ribby Cardi on Saturday I think.  My short term memory is really pathetic and it could have been as early as Friday or as late as Sunday. I'm going with the average of Sat.  Nice quick knit and I'm very happy with how it looks.  I feel strongly that this is going to be a very flattering sweater when its done.  What with the ribbing up the sides that should draw it in and the red sleeves/shoulders to trick the eye elsewhere, it will do nicely.  I have yet to cast on further, been distracted by the pi shawl and the fact we went out to lunch yesterday so I really haven't had a chance to do it. 

Tt_bluegoose_118I didn't get home from my folks house last night until rather late and was immediately distracted by the two packages that Mr. Postman left me.  One was the new cable for my iPod as I had lost the firewire adapter for the thing and couldn't hook it to the computer for a while now so I had to fidget with that.  I also got my Twinkletoes sock yarn from Over the Rainbow yarns on eBay.  I saw these on Margene's blog and was immediately tempted by what she described as "great sock yarn".  I'm always on the prowl for great sock yarn as socks are my favorite purse project and well you just can never have too much sock yarn.  I fell in love with this colorway - Bluegoose - and just had to have it.  I did have to pass over a couple of gorgeous skeins to get this one.  Somehow I don't think this will be my only skein.  This seller is incidentally the same one I bought the yarn for my Clapotis from as well.

Let's see, what else is there.  Oh yes, I've returned to working on Big Sack sweater, again no pictures of that either.  I'm going to shorten the sleeve about an inch or so.  I'm 5', I really don't need sleeves that are 20" long prior to the decrease for the roomy armpit.  I prefer that my sleeves don't look like I borrowed them from the Jolly Green Giant.  At @18.5, it is now the perfect length so I shall be starting the raglan shaping next.

Warning Kid Pictures

Saturday was hair cutting day.  My father had an appt with the barber shop and asked to bring now shaggy Alexander along for another cut.  His last one was some 15 weeks ago and the boy was looking rather scraggly.  While we were there, Kathryn got a decent bang cut as well. 

Befores:

Alex_before_1Alexander sat in his grandpa's lap during his cut and was just a great boy for it.  I was very impressed at how well he sat there through it all.  It might help that Pop-pop is one of his most favorite people in the whole world.  This picture is right before the cut started.  His only objection was towards the end when the barber, who's been cutting Dad's hair for some 30+ years, wanted to trim around the ears.

Kat_beforeKat here is waiting patiently for her Pop-pop to pick her up.  Pop IS her favorite person in the whole world and the only one she calls by name, though Mama is starting to make an appearance.  She goes nowhere without that pink blankie with the very cute lamb attached to it.  She doesn't know this, but there are 3 of these blankies.  My momma didn't raise no dummy.



After:

After_haircutHere are the two of them later in the day.  They've been out of their cramped quarters for almost 16 months, you think they'd quit sitting on top of each other!  They both look so grown up with their neat haircuts.  Babies no more.  Toddlers they be.  I took them for a walk on Sunday to enjoy the sunshine and the 50+ degree temperature.  It took almost 30 minutes to walk to the corner (one house away mind you) and back, but we all had a great time.

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February 02, 2005

Keep on knitting

Now for the second week in a row, Tuesday is Spinning, has been blown away.  I'm guessing the honeymoon period with the Tina is over and/or I'm bored with the Corrie lamb I've been working on.  I did get some new roving in the mail earlier this week.  A gorgeous tri-color jacob roving from a wonderful shepherdess here in my beloved state of NJ.  Jacob sheep are some of the coolest about.  They are generally a spotted sheep and their fleece can be slip into white, black and mixed sections.  If you want to know more, here's a great link.  I think I'm going to spin this roving into three separate colors of lace-weight yarn and maybe just make another pi shawl, this time with each ring being a different color.  Either that or one of those banded shawls in any number of lace books, of which I have no shortage.  Maybe I'll squeeze in some spinning tonight.  I really should finish off that roving already and move onto something new with a clear conscience.  Ha ha ha.

Pi1cSpeaking of pi shawls, I did the fifth increase to 288 stitches, completed the plain rows before the lace and am now on the first lace row.  I like the pattern, its easy to "get" and I was able to do have a round at lunch yesterday with the girls.   This is where I left off last night.  You can't see the whole thing, but just the outer ring.  I also promise that the diamond on the left is indeed complete and will look normal when this baby is blocked.  Speaking of blocking, I got an email that my blocking wires have shipped.  Wee.  They should arrive in plenty of time for this project and will come in handy for both Big Sack and Ribby.

Ribby1aAnd while we're on the Ribby subject, here's the beginning of the back.  I'm now 6 inches into it and really enjoying this piece.  I finished the first skein of yarn on the train this morning.  I like the feel of this fabric and the look of the ribs carrying up the sides of the bag.  It should be wonderful when done.  What with the red sleeves and the ribs on the sides, this should be a very flattering piece on.  I'm planning on being adventurous and doing the zipper.  I've got a sewing machine, have made clothes so a zipper shouldn't be that bad.  That's now, see me again when I get to that point.  I reserve my womanly right to change my mind.

While I'm carrying my two in progress sweaters in my tote bag, the pi shawl is actually in my purse.  This way I was able to work on it yesterday while waiting for the food to arrive at the restaurant.  I hate being caught with nothing to do and I really don't do idle very well.  I learned this lesson a couple of years ago when I got stuck on my parent's boat for 3 hours one November afternoon right after they bought it.  They took me to see it, beautiful thing that it is, and wanted to do some quick winterizing to it.  3 hours later after sitting there like a lump, I was ready to chew my foot off.  Since then, I make absolutely sure to have something with me, be it a book, knitting, charged palm pilot, etc.  I like the fact the shawl and its yarn supply can be comfortably squished into a quart sized Ziploc baggy and stored in my purse. 

Thanks to Erin for her comment to yesterday's posting about my being a selfish knitter.  She made me think.  I'm pretty sure it is because knitting for myself, there's no pressure.  There's no deadline, other than some goofy self imposed one like the desire to wear these new socks to the festival, unlike the birthday/anniversary/holiday gift deadline.  There's also the fear, and it seems all of us crafters are subject to it, as to whether the recipient will actually like the finished item.  This seems to be even more pronounced for me if the victim is a fellow crafter.   Does my work actually stand up against theirs.  Could they have just done this better by themselves?  I know they at least would comprehend what went into the project, but it doesn't change the behind the scenes thinking.  I feel it turns the enjoyable into a job.  This is the very reason why I've never succumbed to the "your knitting is so wonderful, you should sell it" suggestions by others.   I've always felt that it is no longer a hobby then.  The pressure to produce and to produce worthy of someone else's hard earned dollars is really more than I really want to bear.  Computers used to be a hobby and since I changed careers and make my living with them, they are no longer.  I'm jealously guarding the remaining hobbies.  I knit for the kids because knitting for them is much like knitting for myself.  They won't give me any lip and the only negative feedback is their taking hats/gloves/socks off and they'd do that for bought stuff as well.  I knit for the busy work for my hands.  I knit for the creative satisfaction and the mystical quality of taking a ball of yarn, two sticks, swishing them about and walking away with a finished product.  Inasmuch as I love programming, I can't hold my finished product in my hands the way I can with knitted items.  I think really it is the process and not the product that has me knitting.  The pressure of knitting for others reduces the process, at least in my own twisted perception.

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February 01, 2005

Ruby Tuesday

Once I saw that there was a rash of Startitis going around knitblogland, I felt much better about my current case.  As such, I finally started Ribby.  Yeah.  Considering I've been chatting this sweater up for weeks now, I decided it was finally time.  Yes, Big Sack is still in my bag and will get its time too.  I decided that a cardigan would get far more use and well, now that I have the yarn to make two of them, I just better get started.  I swatched last night using the black for the body and thankfully I was right on.  I cast on now have the first 10 rows done.  I can see where this is going to be a nice and fast knit.  The yarn is just flowing through my fingers and I have to say that I really like the worsted version of the Peruvian Highland.  Big Sack is in the chunky and while it is soft and squishy, the worsted is even nicer. 

I put in a few rounds of work on the pi shawl on the train yesterday and this morning.  I did the 5th increase to 288 stitches and am half a round from starting Chart B's lace pattern.  As such, I'm a whopping 7.5% done ;)  Encouraging, no?

The new mittens were given the outdoors test this morning.  Initially glovens were being worn, only because they were in a more accessible pocket in my coat, and my fingers nearly froze as I scraped frost off my windshield.  I swapped and my hands were now toasty in the new mittens.  I think the glovens are going to lose their flappy bit and become hobo gloves.  I'm also thinking about converting the glovens I'm knitting (ever so slowly) for mom to wrist gauntlets.  I'm not quite sure what she's after, but I had a pair of those things, recently lost one, that I just loved.  I'm a terrible rotten selfish knitter making myself all these things and nada for anyone else.

I have to reassess the mailing lists I'm on.  I recently put the Spin-List on NoMail and am trying to decide whether to unsub it altogether.  When did American's become so ugly?  There was a recent question about the correct pronunciation of Rambouillet, as in the particularly lovely breed of sheep derived from the Spanish Merinos given to the Louis and kept on his farm.  After someone who was able to speak french replied to this email query with the correct pronunciation broken down so that it read something like "ram-boo-yay", the list degenerated into something so ugly that really makes me ashamed to be American.  Some of these folk would rather say something so very wrong rather than be accused of "putting on airs" to say it correctly.  The next thread had the sheep now renamed from Rambouillet to Freedom Sheep in yet another bout of French bashing.  There are times when I'm incredibly proud to be an american and yet others when I'm deeply ashamed.  Sadly this isn't the first time there's this kind of negative exchange and the whole thing has left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Getting off my soapbox and back to the knitting.

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January 31, 2005

Monday Monday

Well its Monday again.  Didn't start off really well, Kat was up crying at 5:30 this morning, so I need a nap.  I got to work late today as I had to take the twins for their 15 month checkup at the pediatrician, Dr. Rona.  Now Dr. Rona lives across the street from my parents and I used to babysit for her kids, who are now driving.  Geez, talk about time flying.  Anyway, the twins are doing well, progressing nicely and are in the 50th percentile for their respective height and weight.  Alex is 1.25" taller than his sister and 3 pounds heavier.  They had their chicken pox vaccine and off to school they went.

Now that they've figured out this walking thing, they are doing it more and more often.  This isn't entirely a bad thing as together they weigh 46 lbs and put a bit of a strain on my back.  Getting them both someplace is a bit like herding cats though.  This weekend I got them to walk to their bedroom from the living room, dropping gates and closing doors along the way.  Talk about being distracted by shiny pebbles.  They are definitely my kids.  Anyway, it was a bit easier if I got one where I wanted him/her to go and used him/her as a lure for the other.  They usually giggle and squeal the whole way.

Speaking of shiny pebbles, I finished one of this weekend's new projects.  The wool/mohair mittens are now done.  It took just about 2 hours last night in front of the tube to do the second one.  I got to wear them today.  While the weather is balmy compared to last week, they will do very nicely.  They are also large enough that I can wear a pair of gloves underneath.  I'm toying with taking the flaps off glovens and using them as mitten liners.  I found I very rarely keep the flap closed anyway and they tended to just get caught flapping about.  I'd welcome opinions.

The pi shawl is progressing quite nicely.  I just had to show my geek status once again.  I was trying to come up with some way of dealing with the progress bar for the Pi shawl.  Sure, I've done 4 increases out of the total six, but I knew that I had not complete a smidgen of the completed shawl.  I needed a way to calculate the percentage completeness that was true to the overall amount of work that needed to be done.  How best to measure progress?  Row count?  While there are only x rows in the thing, the early rows have far fewer stitches, 9 to begin with, than the later, 596. Total inches of diameter?  Again, this posed the same problem.  It would take far less actual work to do an inch on the inside of the circle than on the outside.  The only way that was truly reflective was a stitch count.  Yes, I am that kind of geek.  Out came Excel, a numbers geek's true friend.  In the end, I now have a spreadsheet that I can futz with to give me a relatively accurate picture of how much I've actually done.  I'm a mere 6.4% complete, with 4878 stitches out of 76206 (not including border) complete.  Sort of disheartening isn't it?

In the shiny pebble mode again, the order from Elann that I got in on last week arrived today.  Woo.  More peruvian highland wool to fondle.  The black/red star trek inspired ribby cardi is sneaking up in the queue.  I seriously doubt that I'm going to wait for the Denise needles to arrive before I start the sweater, well unless they come in the next 48 hours.  I have perfectly serviceable old nylon circular needles in probably the right size (I should really swatch) that a fellow blogger actually intentionally bought.  I should be happy that I have quite a few of these bad boys.  I did my icelandic shawl on one, I guess the ribby would be fine. 

I finally settled down on a new book to read.  There were a couple of false starts, but I picked up this:

Word of Honor

I've read quite a few of his books and I like them very much.  They remind me a bit of a less dense version of Tom Clancy.  I loved the Ryan series.  I admit to getting sucked into watching The Hunt for Red October on tv yesterday.  I can do that movie line for line.  That one has it all, Sam Neil, Alec Baldwin and (be still my heart) Sean Connery.  Ahhhh.  Oh and cool techy things like a super new submarine and the DSRV.  Love the movie.  Have since I saw it in the movie theatre back when I actually went out to the movies.  Anyway, I find DeMille's writing style very much like Clancy. 

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